Brooklyn is a story of loneliness, of love, of finding one’s place in the world. It is also one of this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Picture. Starring Saoirse Ronan, the movie sees a young Irish girl as she immigrates to America to find a good life.
Here are some intriguing facts about Brooklyn.
1. Movie Mistakes reports that there is one factual error in Brooklyn. The movie is set in 1952, but in one scene in which Saoirse Ronan’s character, Eilis, is walking down a New York street, there is a WALK/DON’T WALK sign flashing in the background. These signs weren’t introduced in the U.S. until the late 1950s.
2. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that director John Crowley said they were using the character Eilis as the focal point of Brooklyn, and the role was the perfect one for Ronan to segue from teenage roles into adult roles.
“It was obvious to me that the face of Eilis was the primary canvas we were going to paint this story on. She’d yet to give a performance that would take her from this younger bracket toward a more adult performance. It felt like a proper stretch for her.”
What a terrific film and sweet story. Saoirse Ronan is excellent in Brooklyn. Terrific performance and movie! pic.twitter.com/Vidtr15Dlp
— The Bronze Review (@TheBronzeReview) January 29, 2016
3. Because the drama is so much more subdued in Brooklyn, editor Jake Roberts said it was a challenge to keep the audience engaged and invested in the movie.
“The drama in the piece is quite subtle compared to what’s out there. So the challenge was to keep the audience engaged — to make sure the story mattered enough to them.”
4. Crowley encouraged Ronan to move to London and find her own place to live because it might help put her into the right mood for her character in Brooklyn. It worked!
“Hovering between two spaces — you’re not from the country you’re living in, yet you don’t feel like you’re from your own home anymore — she was right in that space. Seriously confused.”
5. Ronan had to learn proper table manners for her role in Brooklyn as a young Irish girl from the early 1950s.
“That was a huge hurdle for me. I’ve just got awful table manners, really.”
6. Crowley wanted Ronan’s character in Brooklyn to seem changed when she went back to Ireland, but only subtly changed, so the cinematographer, Yves Belanger, made use of different lenses for the filming the return to Ireland to give it a different feel.
“It’s subtle enough that the audience shouldn’t notice the change — just feel like the place is a little different.”
7. It was important to Crowley that Brooklyn didn’t come across as a clichéd Irish movie.
“Look, Irish culture can become cliched in a heartbeat. You step an inch to the left or right and we’re straight into make-believe territory.”
8. Washington Post reports that the author of the book Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín, is very happy with the way the movie turned out.
“I suppose what comes back to me when I see it is the emotion I had before I wrote the book. It’s quite sharp. There’s also an authenticity about it. Often an Irish film is just made for the global market, and the only place it cannot be shown is Ireland, because we just go, ‘It’s not like that here.’ This film was shown in my home town, where I am right now, Enniscorthy, last night. It was shown to two audiences of 200, and not one person said that.”
9. Time reports that the portrayal of Ronan’s character in Brooklyn was typical of a woman emigrating from Ireland in those days. Even the Catholic Church helping the immigrants was normal.
“[The Catholic Church] was an employment agency. It was the great transatlantic organization. If you came from Ireland, everything seemed different, but the church didn’t. It was a comfort that way, and it was a connection.”
[Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images]